By JONATHAN MATTISE, Associated Press

NASHVILLE (AP) - A federal utility says it would take 24 years to excavate and move a Tennessee power plant's coal ash under court orders that it still might appeal.

In Tuesday's filing in Nashville federal court, Tennessee Valley Authority said it will start the cleanup process at its Gallatin Fossil Plant within 30 days, barring a judge's order.

TVA says there's an early October deadline to decide if it will appeal. If TVA requests it and the judge approves, that could stall cleanup.

TVA says the 24-year estimate assumes a $500 million plan for a lined landfill onsite. TVA says it's also considering offsite options, costing $2 billion.

A judge ordered the cleanup last month, saying coal ash storage is leaking pollutants into the Cumberland River and violating the Clean Water Act.

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